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Camping it up, art history-style

8 May 2019

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories

The Met Gala has arguably been all about camp for quite some time. The term, which Susan Sontag memorably described as, in essence, ‘love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration,’ could well sum up the outfits on show at any of these star-studded fundraisers in recent recent years. This year, however, the organisers finally took the bull by the diamante-studded horns – in keeping with the tradition that the gala follows the theme of the Costume Institute’s annual exhibition, which in 2019 is ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’.

Inevitably, the shindig on Monday night featured fabulousness aplenty, with celebrities competing to see who could pull off the most outrageous red-carpet look. And, as a number of social media users were quick to point out, many guests appeared to have raided the annals of art history for inspiration.

Co-host Harry Styles nodded to Vermeer:

Emily Blunt seemed to have collided with Klimt’s The Kiss:

And was Cardi B channelling Judy Chicago, perhaps?

Jared Leto, meanwhile did a convincing turn playing both Judith and Holofernes:

A handful of guests, however, seemed a little out of step with the night’s theme. Rakewell can’t help but wonder whether Frank Ocean, for one, had misread ‘camp’ for ‘Minimalism’…

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